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Dalriada n:
Kingdom of the Scots,
home of the residents

Jupiter from the garden at 84 Earlspark Avenue – and the Pleiades

Jupiter was at opposition on 6th February. Then the Earth is on the straight line between Jupiter and the Sun, and as close to us as it gets – about 628,743,036 km. So, as it was so close, I had another go at taking a snap of it, this time from the garden so I could align the scope properly with the pole star – which is difficult from Stuart’s bedroom. Then, using the camera that Susan provided, I shot some some ‘movie’ sequences and used some fabulous free software to process the result.

I was delighted that I thought I could make out Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, despite Glasgow’s light pollution and I could just discern two of its moons which I thought must be Io and Europa which are the nearer ones. The other two must be out of shot at this magnification – the most I’ve got, about 250x. But I was dismayed that Stellarium, the program I usually use for checking what I’m looking at seems to put the Great Red Spot on the other side, nearer to Callisto and Ganymede than Io and Europa. So I tried another well known free star gazing program, Cartes du Ciel:

That’s much better.

Next up was the Pleiades star cluster (for Alyson) to test my new tracking equatorial mount with a long exposure. Actually I only needed about 60s, but that’s long enough to cause the stars to appear as streaks because the Earth continues to spin meantime.

Cartes du Ciel came in handy again to check the result.

I’m getting a bit better at it I think. I’m off to a proper dark skies week-end soon with my telescope and Astronomical Society of Glasgow so hopefully I learn some more then.